Friday, May 05, 2006

Mandatory Continuing Education in Texas

I wrote my thoughts regarding the licensing of the locksmith industry and posted it last March ( Business Licenses – Jump for Joy, linked via title bar). I have recently been informed that those wonderful comrades, isn’t that what you call the communist bureaucracy who run our lives now, the Texas Private Security Board has implemented their mandatory continueing education portion as proposed in that all inclusive piece of legislation that covers everything from security officers, guard dog handlers and even locksmiths. It must have past under my radar or I’d have written about this sooner.


(a) This section does not apply to a noncommissioned security officer.

(b) The commission shall recognize, prepare, or administer continuing education programs for license holders, commissioned security officers, and registrants. The commission shall set the minimum number of hours that must be completed and the types of programs that may be

(c) A license holder, commissioned security officer, or registrant must participate in the programs to the extent required by the commission to keep the person's license, commission, or registration. A license holder, commissioned security officer, or registrant shall submit evidence of compliance with the commission's continuing education requirements in a manner prescribed by the commission.

Somewhere that translates into 9 hours of “industry related” mandatory training, at least that’s what I was told. A young locksmith “wannabe” told me that he failed the locksmith test the first time he took it. One set of questions he had trouble with had to do with the proper feeding and care of guard dogs; no, this was on the locksmith part of the test. I can only hope that my guard dogs, Roxie and Missy, won’t snitch me off when the commission checks out their dog food bowls. “Kibbles and Bits, Kibbles and Bits; we want Kibbles and Bits or we’re going on a work slow down! No barking at the garbage men, no barking at the mailman and you can forget not chasing the neighbor’s cat up the tree.”

I have to take a one hour class in Ethics, given by the State of Texas. Forgive me while I take my head out of the trash can and wipe the edges of my mouth. This must be something like what goes on in the prison system. “Hey kid, heard you got caught stealing cars. Next time you go for a ride remember to wear gloves, burn the car when you’re through so you leave no evidence and for goodness sakes, kid, don’t get caught next time.” The State of Texas is going to teach ethics; hell, let’s go for broke and teach religious doctrine too. “Okay, so you lied a little, everyone here in Austin lies; it’s how you spin that lie that makes all the difference.” I think that covers my thoughts about the State of Texas teaching a locksmith about ethics.

Locksmiths have to earn an additional 8 hours of classroom training each year, maybe it’s every other year, to keep their State issued license. This is all backwards; at least the way I see it. I need to be able to complete each job to get paid. If at the end of the job the customer pays the agreed upon fee; then it would seem natural or even logical that I performed the skills necessary. If I want to stay involved in the locksmith business I have no choice other than to stay informed of those changes which have taken place in the industry. If I don’t educate myself I won’t be able to do certain jobs; it’s that simple. For the State to mandate any course curriculum is insulting to any locksmith who plans to stay in business under the natural laws of supply and demand.

That having been said I talked with some friends in the business and found where I might obtain these mandatory classes being offered so that I might jump through some of those Lillipution hoops, balance myself properly on that pole and lay prone at the feet of those most important State monitors. I’d say, “Yowsa, Boss.”; but that’s not politically correct.

I’m reminded of the fellow, a retired Army JAG officer, who was teaching law at a university. Changes from the higherarchy determined that only those who held a Masters Degree could remain in their employ. As many of their staff did not have their Masters, a period of time was given that they might obtain the necessary course hours. He was told that he needed certain basic courses in law that were not on his resume prior to achieving those requirements.

On his first day of attending class the instructor handed out the list of required reading along with the other goals for that block of credit hours. The instructor noticed that the name of the author of the main book, the book that contained most of the instructional material for the class, that name was the same as the retired Army Jag officer sitting in class. “Are you related to the author?”, he asked, hoping that it would be his father or perhaps an uncle.

“I wrote that book.”, was enough to convince the instructor that an awkward situation had been established.

I feel somewhat the same as I sign up for a course in basic automotive locksmith work; one that I will be required to take every year if I am to remain a licensed locksmith in the State of Texas. I understand that it will be a hands on class, taught at one of the auto auction storage facilities. I will do my best to learn tips of the trade from some of the other locksmiths; there are many things I can learn from others. My guess is that I will swap 8 hours of mandatory instruction for 8 hours of potential business. I could sign up for a block of hours in IC (interchangeable core) an area which I have no interest in, nor do I have any customers with a need for that particular ability since I specialize in automotive locksmith work and leave the rest to full service locksmiths. Maybe I could show them that I qualified with my pistol so that I could carry a concealed handgun under provisions of the retired police officer laws; better than trying to convince them I know how to train guard dogs.

In the mean time I’ll start practicing my vocabulary; “Nos vedanyas, commerade.”, “Heil!” and let’s not forget, “It’s for the good of everyone.” Then there’s always Morgan Freeman’s line to the grocery store manager after making parole, “Boss, can I go make water?”, from the movie Shawshank Redemption and then there’s the line from another movie, The Outlaw Josie Wales, where the last of the Confederate soldiers have been turned over to the Union Army. “Don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s rain'n.”

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